They were the most devastating words a man could hear. My head dropped. I couldn’t look up. The world stopped.
After conquering heart disease 30 months ago, I now have a new attacker. And this one is far more deadly. Don’t Google it and read the mortality rates, or you’ll have me buried before you finish this post. I had myself buried before I left the doctor’s office Wednesday evening. It seemed hopeless.
It was heartbreaking traveling from house to house that night to tell my kids. We were all crying. My girls were cuddled up with me on the couch, trying to relive a safer time in their dad’s arms.
The kids then followed us back to Lafayette so we could all be together. Our world had changed forever. We were all trying to grasp the reality. We prayed together and agreed that we wouldn’t complain. We wouldn’t fail to trust God. We would still be thankful when all seemed lost.
We hoped we could be.
The next morning I began to call family and friends. Emails came pouring in. The response was stunning. I was surrounded in spirit by those that love me. Grown men were crying and telling me how much I meant to them. Friends were praying with me on the phone. Friends from Atlanta, South Carolina, Virginia, Dallas, Phoenix, and all across the Midwest. They offered to fly and drive in to support me. It was clear that they would do whatever it took to be there for us.
And my spirit began to change. With each expression of “perfect love” from the people in my life, the clouds were nudged further back and the sun’s rays began to poke through. By Friday I sensed hope again. I developed a will to fight. I developed a passion to fight. I developed a resolve to win.
And for the first time, I fully grasped God’s promise that “perfect love casts out all fear.” The “perfect love” of my family and friends had pushed the darkness away. Hope quietly but confidently resurfaced.
I was humbled as I grasped how casual I have been about showing my own affection toward others. I now realize how important it is to daily express to my wife, kids, friends, and others just how important they are to me.
Please, go do that now with the people in your life.
I have a long road ahead of me. The first step is this Tuesday (7:30 AM) when I have surgery to remove the tumor. Please pray that the cancer hasn’t spread. Please pray for my family.
Because of your “perfect love,” I will fight regardless of what happens. I will fight to win this battle. And there is a real chance since we caught the cancer early. There is a chance because I have such remarkable emotional and prayer support. There is a chance because I’m young and healthy. There is a chance because I love you all and you deserve my very best.
We have set up a Caring Bridge web site at caringbridge.org/visit/edbahler if you’d like to stay in touch.